Strategy Games

I Rank The Strategy Game Features I Am Looking For As Follows:

  1. How you use units matters a lot (interaction with terrain, direction of attack, etc whatever)
  2. Mainly involves dealing with a given situation, rather than constructing tons of cities/bases/armies yourself as the game goes along
  3. Relatively small number of different unit types
  4. How you use units matters a lot (interaction with terrain, direction of attack, etc whatever)

I have played a lot of RTSs and I don’t like them too much. I know there are a lot of people here with a lot of experience in turn-based strategy games, etc, and I’m hoping I can pick up some recommendations on games like this. If I can buy them over the internet then so much the better!

I played the first few levels of Advance Wars and that seems to be a little bit like what I am talking about above. But I think I want a game with more nuance than that. (I do plan to pick up the new Advance Wars for the DS though).

When I read your list I thought of Fire Emblem, but it may be too simple for what you are looking for.

Fire Emblem would be better than Advance Wars, and he seems to be digging that. Go for the new Gamecube one or any of the portables.


If you don’t have a lot of interest in the building and are more interested in fighting good tactical combat, conventional RTS may not be your thing.

Have you played any of the old Myth games? The Total War games are good for that sort of stuff, too, but Myth has nice battles with lots of blood.


If it’s the standard RTS you don’t like, not necessarily the real-time factor, you may want to try Kohan. It seems to fit your checklist.

I’d have thought the Combat Mission games would be right up your alley then.

My big problem with the traditional RTS is that there isn’t all that much strategy to it. You just kind of muddle your way through by building a bunch of crap and clicking fast.

In a way I miss the party combat from Ultima IV because, as simple as it was, it was at least very tactical and a little bit strategic.

Good suggestions so far, thanks, I will try them out.

Airborne Assault? There’s still a demo for the first one floating around somewhere.

Dude, you cannot say that in public, because some addled RTS freak will usually start screaming and foaming about how you simply don’t understand RTSes, proven that you would make such an absurd statement. I say this from experience, since I despise RTSes and have had said as much in public only to be reviled and hated and ridiculed for “not being good enough to enjoy the game”. Or something.

That said, the WC3 expansion pack is supposed to be, or so I’ve heard, more killing, less building.

In a way I miss the party combat from Ultima IV because, as simple as it was, it was at least very tactical and a little bit strategic.

Fire Emblem might be the ticket for you, but ask Casey about it since he and I both thought it was interesting but in the end it had some really stupid game design elements.

Shit, I probably shouldn’t have said that in public either. =)

Ha, I’ll take the bait.

Just because you dislike some core design elements, doesn’t make them “really stupid”.


That’s like saying just because I disagreed with Hitler’s domestic policies doesn’t make him “evil”.*


I downloaded the Kohan 2 demo, but I quit in the middle of the 2nd tutorial mission because it just seemed like another bad C&C game.

Gonna pick up Fire Emblem tonight though.

Also. There are several areas where Casey’s tastes agree with mine, but I don’t think this category of games is one of them. I mean, he loves crap like Final Fantasy.

Might I be so bold as to recommend Homeworld 2?

There’s relatively little in the way of building (you have a few ships that can build other ships, and a handfull of modules that can be built on each of those; also, the UI allows you to build stuff without looking away from the action), a tech-tree that’s more horizontal than vertical, and a reasonably small collection of units that all remain useful throughout the game.

There’s essentially no terrain to interact with (beyond where the resources are), but direction of attack does matter. The big ships and ponderous and slow to turn, and tend to be more lightly armored on the top and bottom.

by the thread title you seem to be classing strategy games as just being RTS games. Plenty of other genres out there. Sim City is a kind of strategy game, then you have your civilisation series etc. I could even pimp Democracy here…

Well, I think FF is just a blind spot with him. I remember playing FFX-2 with him and I was like “Uhhh…dude?” the whole time, and he was just convinced it was awesome.

you would be mistaken there. Although I’d actually recommend one of the original Kohans.

Well I guess to be more specific, I am looking for combat strategy games. Turn-based or realtime would both be fine, but I am not nearly as familiar with the turn-based games of the past decade or so, hopefully someone can give some good recommendations.

As for Homeworld 2… I liked the original Homeworld tremendously, but I stopped playing Homeworld 2 after a couple of missions. It didn’t seem to improve on the original’s gameplay, instead dumbing it down, and then stylistically they screwed up all the good things about the original (e.g. the voice acting – the spaceship pilots in the original were all calm and stoic, like, they fly through the blackness of space all the time and this is just another order you are giving them and they are doing it. The way that was acted/directed was quite inspired. Homeworld 2 replaced it with your standard bullshit peppy C&C “Yes sir, as you command!” type of crap. That by itself is not too big a deal, but the whole game seemed to suffer from the same kind of lameness. And then, the story [or what I saw of it]… ugh.)

I remember liking HOMM2 a lot, but it is just a little too wacky compared to what I am looking for now (what with all the spells and myriad creatures with weird abilities). I haven’t tried any of the later installments of the series but haven’t exactly heard good things.

Well, hey. All I have to go by is what they were showing me in the Kohan 2 demo.

I just don’t want to build a hut and upgrade it to a citadel and build a library and a lumber yard and a stone quarry and a whorehouse and capture a tech outpost and manufacture 3 squadrons of pikemen, 2 squadrons of archers, a squadron of cavalry, and send them around attacking random shit. That’s been done to death and they didn’t appear to be doing it any better than anyone else. Okay, maybe Kohan 2 is “a good C&C game” by many peoples’ accounts, but I don’t think C&C is a very good game to begin with, so a “better” version of that is still not up my alley.

… But nevertheless I will try out the original Kohans (hopefully there are demos of them too).

I’d just like to take a moment to reiterate here all the tired crap about the original Homeworld’s “sense of wonder,” because it happens to be true. Remember the Garden? Shit yeah. The voice acting in Homeworld was, as Mr. Blow says, perfect. It had a quiet, subdued, serious style that you don’t often hear in computer games. Cataclysm was a huge step backwards in voice acting, and Homeworld 2 was not the triumph of the art that the first one was.

I’ll go out on a limb and suggest Freedom Force 1 and/or 2, although they’re not typically classified as “strategy games”. They have alot of the tactical tightness you (Jon) seem to be looking for, and are excellent all around games. Plus after you finish there are mod/campaigns that are about as good as the main game (e.g. Strangers).

It’s real time, but if you slow the clock down and right-click/pause to give orders it plays out alot like a turn based game. It’s not to everyone’s taste, and is as much a CRPG as a strategy game, but it’s definitely worth taking a look.

I’ll also second the recommendation of Myth 1 and 2 (but not 3). That’s pretty much the pinnacle of the Real Time Tactical gaming world IMHO.

Other thoughts include Combat Mission, and Jagged Alliance 2.